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Ringo Starr achieved world fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He was a member of this world’s most successful band from 1962 until it broke up in 1970. His solo career afterwards brought him respectable successes, but also many flops. He also played in various films as an actor and supported many other musicians as their drummer.
His youth was overshadowed by many illnesses after his parents separated when he was three years old. Ringo Starr, then still using his real name Richard Starkey, spent a lot of time in hospitals teaching himself the basics of drumming. Raised in modest circumstances, he was the only one of the four Beatles who had had a regular job before joining the band. But Ringo Starr was also active as a drummer in various Liverpool bands before he was recruited by the Beatles to replace Pete Best. The last band he played for before the Beatles was Rory Storm & the Hurricanes.
He first played with the Beatles in August 1961 when their drummer Pete Best fell ill. Exactly one year later he became a permanent member of the Beatles to replace Pete Best. From then on, the great success of the Liverpoolers began with the Beatles’ first single “Love Me Do”. Ringo Starr was part of the entire rise of the Beatles, including Beatlemania, but only composed two pieces on the Beatles’ albums himself. But he was repeatedly used as the lead singer of individual songs, some of which became the greatest hits of the Beatles, such as “A little help from my friends”. Due to his small tonal range, the pieces by Lennon/McCartney composed especially for Ringo Starr mostly consisted of rather simple melodies.
That didn’t change the fact that there were many Beatles fans who called Ringo their favorite Beatle. Like the other three, he has a natural talent for humor and has not only earned his popularity with his very own drumming, but also with his witty demeanor in interviews and in The Beatles films.
When their existence finally ended in April 1970, Ringo Starr, like the other three Beatles, continued as a solo artist. Here he experienced many ups and downs, with some major successes, but very little success, especially in the 1980s. However, he often worked with the ex-Beatles, for example on George Harrison’s successful album “All Things Must Pass” or on works by John Lennon.
From the 1990s he reoriented himself musically, which led to the increasing commercial success of his releases. Since then, Ringo Starr has been going on extensive tours again, which are not least visited by many Beatles fans. Another concert break was followed in the summer of 2011 by a major European tour, which he began in Hamburg. Recently, there have even been more appearances with Paul McCartney, the only Beatle still alive next to him, since George Harrison died in 2001.
He began acting outside of the Beatles films in 1968 in the film Candy. A number of other appearances in well-known films followed, which he reduced again from the 1980s.
Basically, Ringo Starr’s entire membership with The Beatles is one single success story. Even though he rarely contributed to the actual compositions, his drumming is considered innovative, creative and quite style-defining. Even today, many fellow musicians rave about Ringo Starr’s playing as “defining” and influential. Since he hardly celebrated any success in the charts after the Beatles, every single record with the Beatles is probably a highlight of Ringo Starr’s career. To single out a single one here would not do justice to the huge success of the Beatles and thus also of Ringo Starr.
“Being part of the Beatles was a short, incredible time in my life. It took 22 years to get there and just 8 years later it was over.”
“First and foremost, I’m a drummer. After that, other things come… But I’ve never played drums to make money.”
“I love Beethoven, especially his poems.”
“Ringo”, whose real name is Richard, got his nickname because he wore an exceptionally large number of rings on his fingers.
In 1990 an asteroid was named after him, the asteroid (4150) Starr.
In 2018 he was knighted by the Queen, which is why he is allowed to bear the nickname “Sir”.
In the music magazine “Rolling Stone” he was listed in 2016 as the 14th best drummer in history.
Ringo Starr is married to American actress Barbara Bach. He has three sons from his first marriage, one of whom, Zak Starkey, is a drummer himself and was a member of Oasis and The Who.